Monday, November 30, 2009

MJ Holiday 2008: BR799 Leather Rose

Nope, there is no typo in the title; I am indeed reviewing a palette released a year ago. It's almost sad that this is actually the most recently released out of all Asian eyeshadow palettes I've reviewed =P Anyway, this eyeshadow palette is part of Majolica Majorca's holiday 2008 collection, but because it is not limited edition, I just recently asked my mom to get it for me from Taiwan since. I've been hesistant about getting this palette since I got BR751 of the Trick On collection, and lots of reviewers have mentioned that this palette and BR751 are very similar. Thankfully, BR751 is not similar to BR799 in my eyes, so I'm very happy that I decided to get this anyway.

As usual, the MJ packaging is absolutely adorable, nothing really surprising there. I think the pearl-colored case may be my favorite out of all makeup items that I own ^^ It's too bad that MJ went overboard with their new line of palettes and added a string of little pearl-like decorations around the case. In my opinion, the fake pearls make the new case look cheap and ugly =P Also, even though I've talked about this before, but I would just like to rave some more about the MJ applicators. I usually use my fingers to apply eyeshadows, but MJ applicators are awesome because they are smoother than all other sponge-tip applicators that I've used. The smoothness means that it's easy on my eyelids (it doesn't tug) and it picks up and applies eyeshadows easily (the shadow doesn't go into the pores of the sponge and hide there instead of applying properly). The applicator is also great since I rarely ever see it make a powdery mess inside the eyeshadow case even if I don't clean it very well.

This line of eyeshadow palettes contains a cream base (top decorated band) and three powder shadows. I haven't used and don't plan on using the cream base since I don't want to destroy the pretty decoration. Plus, I've heard it's really horrible anyway, and I have already had several bad experiences with cream bases due to my oily lids. The powder shadows, though, have an amazing texture. Like most Asian shadows, MJ shadows are slightly soft to the touch and are very silky. They also last all day on me without creasing. So for me, the excellence of the powder shadows is definitely enough to make up for the mediocrity of the cream base ^_^

The three colors of the powder eyeshadows in this palette are a shimmery slightly warm pink highlight (A), a metallic warm-toned taupe (B), and a dark brown plum with pink shimmer (C). The palette is an interesting mixture of cool and warm since all of the colors seem cool at first glance, but they apply slightly warm (neutral-warm?) on eyelids. The pigmentation of A and B are fairly sheer, while C has medium high pigmentation. To make up for the low pigmentation level, all shades are very finely shimmery with some larger sparkles in A so that the overall effect is a light makeup look with natural radiance. Since the colors are very warm pink-based, the finished look is also very feminine though understated. A number of bloggers have mentioned that they like this palette better than its sister BR751, and I have to agree even though I don't think the two palettes are that similar. I think BR799 is easier to apply and looks flattering with most clothes, whereas BR751 is a bit more picky.

All product pictures in this post were taken under white light; the swatch picture was taken in natural light.

In short: MJ has me hooked yet again! This palette is definitely worth checking out if you like understated feminine looks or if you're a beginner looking for a basic palette. I hope MJ would come out with more palettes like this for their 2010 releases since their 2009 releases have been pretty disappointing for me...

P.S. By the way, if you wonder why I have positive reviews for most things that I get, it's not because I never have anything negative to say but because I always read a number of reviews before I purchase anything. That plus the fact that I have good friends who are also into makeup who let's me play with their makeup stuff means that I can usually weed out the things I know I won't like from my wish/shopping list.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


For those of you who don't know, Fyrinnae is a cosmetics e-tailer who makes their own makeup from scratch. They are perhaps most famous for their loose eyeshadows which some have touted as a budget-friendly version of MAC pigments. (I'm not sure whether Fyrinnae is cheaper than MAC on a per gram basis, but I would never want to buy such a big jar of loose eyeshadow anyway, so I've never considered MAC.) The range of colors for loose eyeshadows on Fyrinnae's site is absolutely amazing, it's like a color-lover's heaven! I love browsing through the eyeshadow colors on their site since it's almost like owning a Pantone color swatch ^^

Another reason why I love Fyrinnae is the way they name their shadows. They are usually whimsical or have some Japanese or Celtic influence, and the reasoning behind the name is usually provided for each eyeshadow along with a description of the color. Both dry and wet swatches of each eyeshadow are provided as well to make it easier for you to decide on a color. However, if you are still not sure of whether you will want a color based on the color description and the swatches, there is the option of buying 1/4-1/2 teaspoon samples of the shadows instead of the full 3 grams. The samples are around $1.50, while the full size eyeshadows are around $5.25 each, which is just absolutely amazing for the quality of the shadows that you get. I bought the below batch of samples from Fyrinnae for a measly $21 (free shipping worldwide for orders over $20), and they even included an extra smaller sample that was on my wishlist(Shinigami) along with a couple of stickers! The people at Fyrinnae are so nice ^^ I definitely didn't expect anything what with such a small order.

All samples and full size eyeshadows are packaged in small clear screw-top jars with the name of the shadow labeled on the bottom. Although the packaging is not the prettiest thing ever, I actually like it for its simplicity and practicality (you can see the eyeshadow very easily). In regards to the quality of the eyeshadows, the lasting power of the shadows I've tried are good with UDPP, and the pigmentation is great for all of them, as you will see in the below swatch pictures. The textures varies with each finish/color, but in general they are all finely milled and not gritty. However, maybe because these are finely milled loose shadows, the powder for certain shades tend to gather into little balls in the jar. The clumping doesn't pose any major problems, but you will want to be careful when applying since when you crush the balls, more color/powder may come out than you expected.

Alright, let's start on the top left. Black Plum is a (surprise!) plum color with fine multicolored shimmer and medium silver shimmer. If you look at the product picture above, you can see how much shimmer is in this color. This color is great for using as a liner to give some definition to your eyes without looking too sharp.

Next, we have Fyre & Ice, a black shadow with medium multicolored shimmer that is predominantly pink/magenta. It's definitely an interesting color since I usually see black with red/maroon/burgundy shimmer rather than with pink/magenta shimmer. I don't really remember what it looks like on my eyes, but it's also great as a liner.

Moving on, Shinigami is a blue-toned royal purple with some blue and purple shimmer. The name means the God of Death in Japanese, and it is named thus because it was part of the Halloween 2009 collection. This is the free sample I received from Fyrinnae in the order.

The last in the top line is Karasu, a black with fine dark blue shimmer. Karasu means crow in Japanese, and the color is reminiscent of the color of a crow's feathery coat, black with a midnight blue sheen. I love this color since it definitely looks blue, but it's still dark enough to really make your eyes pop when used as a liner.

In the next line, we have Kurisumasu!, a metallic warm pink shadow that contains some medium silver shimmer. FYI, Kurisumasu is the Japanese way of saying Christmas, and there really is no logical correlation between the name and the color of the eyeshadow (even the staff at Fyrinnae admits this themselves). It's a really pretty color, regardless, but for some reason it also tends to clump up in the jar more than the other shades.

To Kurisumasu!'s right is Nijiiro, which means rainbow color. I believe the name refers to the shimmer in this ivory shade, which is multicolored. This color is actually what I would have named Kurisumasu! because the ivory and shimmer reminds me snow and winter. This color also clumps up a bit.

Next, we have Monarch Butterfly, a black brown with fine burgundy and gold shimmer. Like the other black-ish shades I purchased, this color is beautiful as a liner. It is also part of the Endangered Species collection so part of the proceeds is donated to help save endangered species around the world.

Even though you can kind of see Snow Leopard in the first swatch picture, the above picture is more accurate in color. Snow Leopard is sort of halfway between champagne and rose gold with a metallic finish and very fine shimmers (I actually can't really tell what is the color of the shimmer). The color is really beautiful as a wash over the lids, and this shade also clumps up a bit in the jar.

Next, we have Polar Bear, a yellow gold with lots of fine gold and green-ish looking shimmers. I was expecting a paler gold based on the description and swatch pictures on Fyrinnae's site, but this is actually the color of yellow gold jewelry on me.

Following Polar Bear is Equality, the most shimmery/sparkly eyeshadow of this bunch. It is a slightly taupey silver with medium to fine multicolored shimmers that are predominantly silver or other cool-toned shades.

Next is Dokkalfar, a dark sage green with medium green and gold shimmers. I don't know what the name means, but it reminds of forest elves in fantasy stories ^^

Lastly, we have Mystic, an Arcane Magic shade which is said to be kind of holographic. The color of the shadow is supposed to look different depending on the angle of light to the shadow, but I don't really see any shift in color in Mystic. I don't really mind the lack of obvious holographic-ness since it's still absolutely gorgeous. Mystic is a metallic dark gray with fine multicolored shimmers that are predominantly blue and green, making it look like a gray-ed teal.

All colors in the post are taken under white light.

In short: The highly pigmented, finely-milled, economically priced, and whimsically named loose eyeshadows from Fyrinnae are definitely worth checking out. The great customer service at the e-tailer is also a plus!

Friday, November 13, 2009

MAC Holiday: Magic, Mirth, and Mischief's Sorceress Palette

Finally, a normal title that says exactly what I'm about to review =P Being a purple/lavender-obsessed makeup lover, I've been waiting for the release of MAC's Sorceress palette from the holiday Magic, Mirth, and Mischief collection since news of the collection came out on Temptalia. I was further convinced that I had to get this palette when I read in reviews that the middle-top grey-green color is very unique and interesting. Since I don't have a green and purple palette yet, the devil successfully won the inner struggle in my head, and I walked out of Nordstrom with this palette in hand a couple of weeks ago.

The packaging of this palette is very cute and reminds me of Christmas baubles on Christmas trees. The surface of the lid beside the baubles is mirror-like and very bright, as you can see in the below picture. At one point I was contemplating acting like an Asian guy, i.e., not taking off the plastic covering on the lid so the lid would not become scratched and/or covered in fingerprints. But then I decided that the plastic cover was just too ugly so I took it off anyway.

Before I start talking about the eyeshadows in Sorceress, I just want to mention that I have had very limited experience with MAC. I only own one other MAC eyeshadow palette and I certainly don't know MAC speak with the different eyeshadow textures. So I will be describing everything in my own words.

Sorceress contains six eyeshadows in varying shades of green, grey, and lavender/purple. The texture of the eyeshadows is typical of good Western cosmetic lines like NARS, very smooth but noticeably more packed down than Asian eyeshadows. The pigmentation is decent, and the lasting power is great as long as you have UDPP (haven't tried without UDPP and not planning on trying). The palette contains a small eyeshadow brush, which I believe is unusual for MAC. The quality of the brush is fine, but not anything particularly great.

The different eyeshadows in Sorceress corresponding to the swatch picture below are:

A - White Rabbit - a shimmery and sheer ivory
B - Hold My Gaze - beautiful unique grey-green, has some gold shimmer
C - Edge of Dark - a dark metallic gray
D - Magnetized - a pale shimmery lavender, reminds me of the light lavender in Maquillage's Eye Creator VI367
E - Hypnotizing - a shimmery mauve
F - Altered State - a dark shimmery reddish purple

As you can see, all of the shadows are shimmery to some extent, though none are really loud. My favorite color out of the bunch is (not surprisingly) Hold My Gaze or the grey-green because it is just absolutely gorgeous. The other colors are also nice, but nothing really outstanding or unique. In addition, the different colors in the palette sort of just mesh together when applied on the eyes so the none of the individual colors really stand out, especially Hold My Gaze. Instead of looking like the beautiful grey-green on my arm, Hold My Gaze just looks dirty and gray on my lids ^^"' Maybe it's my lack of skills or something, but the palette really doesn't look as interesting on my lids as it does on my arm even with UDPP, which is rather disappointing.

All pictures in this post were taken under white light (...should've taken pictures while it was still sunny last week!! ><)

In short: A decent palette that looks exciting on page and in swatch pictures, but not exactly mind-blowing when applied on eyelids.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Inspiration - Ueno Juri for Maquillage Holiday 2009

I really like the makeup look on Ueno Juri in the promo pic for Maquillage holiday 2009. The contrast between the bluish silver gray eyeshadow and the Barbie pink lips is very mod, and it's definitely more daring and vibrant than what I remember usually seeing from Maquillage. Yes, the expression on Juri's face is kind of funny, but she is still really pretty ^^ And those are really cool earrings, very space age-esque.